It's possible to explore the desert and visit the
Bedouins on a Jeep safari. Or what about taking a ride on a Camel
trip into the desert? Here's your chance to learn about the Bedouins
and gain information about Camel trips and even to do a Camel-riding
course. All this can be booked on location from 1-day trips up to
ABABDA: BEDOUINS OF THE EASTERN DESSERT
of the Ababda is the vast expanse of the Eastern Desert
between the Red Sea and the Nile Valley, a region covering the land
from Kosseir in the north down to the southern borders of Egypt.
From time immemorial the Ababda have been nomads,
wandering through the desert with their flocks of sheep and goats.
They were always on the move, looking for water and food for their
|They have no permanent
settlements; they live in shoddily assembled wooden shelters,
which they simply leave behind when they move on, building new ones
at the next place. In the past they made all the items for their everyday
life themselves: pots and dishes and simple
tools made of stone and wood, baskets woven from the roots of desert
plants, harnesses and saddles for the camels.
The women would gather
herbs to cure illnesses and spin wool,
which they then wove into coarse fabrics with simple patterns to
cover the walls of their shelters.
As a result of their life in the desert the Ababda developed features,
which are common to all nomad people: indifference toward material
things, hospitality, respect for nature, self-sufficiency and tribal
solidarity. The Ababda have inhabited this region since
time immemorial. They witnessed the rise and decline of
the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Turks and Franks who passed
|Treated as robbers and barbarians,
the Ababda were expelled outside the borders of the invaders. Excluded
from the invaders' cultures, they managed to maintain
all of their own traditions and with them an identity which
did not change much over the centuries. To a large extent, this continuity
was a result of their modest way of life and the harshness of the
living conditions to which they were uniquely
|If your time or budget is
limited, a Camel trip from the eastern shore village
of Dahab to Ras Abu Galum provides a brief taste of Sinai's splendour.
The trip takes about an hour and
a half one way, more than long enough for those not used to riding
camels. Fifty meters to the left of the path, the craggy mountains
of Sinai rise above the red desert sands; to the right is the Gulf
of Aqaba, a finger of the Red Sea that extends up to Israel.
In some places, the mountains run directly into the water, and the
path seems to disappear. If the tide is running high, your sure-footed
steed may have to tread over wet reef.
|This is a project
that supports the local Bedouins in Sinai. The Camel-riding
Instructor is a local Bedouin with good knowledge of English. Classes
are held on the beach of Habbiba Village a casual environment where
our guests can meet with the Bedouins (men, women and children) without
being or feeling offended by entering a different culture and way
Length of visit: 8 to
15 days is suggested but classes of
any length can be arranged.
8 day tour: 3 day course + 3 day camel trek:
US $ 465 (around Wadi Samghri Bedouin settlement and Ain Hudra)
The concept of the camel riding school aims
to bring back
business to the local Bedouin community.
Their aim is not only to provide their guests with knowledge about
camels, and how to ride and care for a camel. They are offering
the opportunity during our camel riding classes to learn a lot about
the traditional Bedouin way of life and survival in a desert
environment, about flora and fauna of the desert.
By the end of the 3 days course you should be able
to ride your own camel without any help provided,
you will be able to “communicate”
with the camel and you have learnt the Arabic terms
for camel gear and much more.
During the classes a mutual trust has developed between the Bedouins
and our guests, which is important for the following camel trek
where the guests are part of a journey into a different world.
During “normal” treks the tourists are guests
of the Bedouins, taken very good care of but playing more
the part of observers. On these 'advanced treks' the guest is an
active companion traveller in terms that you
will participate in daily life: collecting wood, cooking on campfire...
Knowledge gained in the theoretical lessons can be tested and widened.
Bedouins will tell and teach how to locate water resources, how
to read trails, where to find shelter against certain weather condition,
which plants are eatable and which plants are used for medical
treatment for man and animal. They also learn about the
ancient Bedouin law system, which in respect to the hostile desert
environment has to be very tough, but turns out to be very just
Ancient stories told around the campfires during
breaks give a perfect insight into the vanishing Bedouin culture.
Stories and songs
tell about trade, love and law.
The focus on these treks is not so much of coming from A to B, but
on meeting with the Bedouins. Enclosed in these tours are always
visits to Bedouin settlements in the desert, where life has remained
pretty much the same.
The success of these tours depends very much on the interactive
participation of the guests.
The more interest shown, the more questions asked, the more